Wu-Tang! Remember those guys? I take my first trip to Toad’s Place to see what all the fuss is about.
On Friday I went to the Wu-Tang Clan show at Toad’s Place where, if you weren’t aware, the legends play. This was my ever first hip-hop
show, and it was nice to have my figurative cherry figuratively popped by a legend. It’s interesting to watch a large hip-hop group perform. Perhaps you already know this: without instruments for the performers to hide behind it’s as if the audience stumbled upon a couple of dudes rapping in a park.
The hour long show was a good mix of classics off of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang Forever, Liquid Swords, and some tracks off the newer albums that I, personally, have no experience with. Midway through the show they played “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” as a “moving” ODB (RIP: ingested bags of cocaine?) tribute. Big Baby Jesus wasn’t the only one missing from the crew. I didn’t see RZA or Method Man, and while GZA was physically there he looked like he either was petrified or was having a chemically induced out of body experience. Speaking of, various hand rolled cigarette-esque items made appearances on stage throughout the show.
“Dude, don’t get shot.” was the response I got from my friends when I told them I was going to see the Wu. Richmond has a historically long correlation between violence and hip-hop shows, so I can see where they were coming from. Or maybe I just have racist friends? But, surprisingly, the security was handled very well in a totally non-Orwellian fashion (even though I was searched twice). Everyone on staff was polite and professional.
This was my first trip into Toad’s Place, and I was way impressed. Richmond has needed a venue of Toad’s size (capacity: 1440) to bring in national level talent for a long, long time. Although their lineup isn’t exactly filled with world beaters, it is steadily improving (I submit Wu-Tang as evidence). The inside of Toad’s is clean and modern looking which works great for the likes of Wu-Tang or Michael Ian Black / Michael Showalter (Feb 2nd).
Honestly, the place is the real deal. When the National makes it’s debut later this year get ready for some good ol’ fashioned competition that leaves Richmonders with two, hopefully, excellent live music venues. Get stoked, and let me know when Soundgarden heads into town.
The crowd was 90% white college aged frat looking dudes. Don’t bump into anyone’s girlfriend, they might beat you up.
Photos by: Matthew McDonald